Decision on Upper west side nursing home pending

The New Jewish home is developing a nursing home at west 97th street and Columbus avenue right next door to PS 163. A previous court ruling stated that environmental and air quality issues were not taken into account in the proposal. According to the Chief executive, a decision is expected in the next several weeks following a May court hearing.


Full article on Crain’s

Is the Upper west side the best neighborhood in Manhattan?

Well, it guess it depends on who you are speaking with but let’s take a look at what you get when you purchase an apartment on the upper west side.

You got to have Park
Anywhere on the Upper west side, you are sandwiched between Central Park and Riverside Park. Chances are you are near to one or the other.  In both parks, you can ride your bike, play tennis, go for a picnic, dance, and watch outdoor movies. In Riverside Park, you can see the sunset while sitting at Pier I cafe having a burger and beer. In Central Park, you go swimming in the summer and ice skating in the winter in the same place! So if greenery and a park are important to you, you will love a pad on the UWS.

Great Schools
The Upper west side of Manhattan has some of the best public schools including PS 87 and PS 199. PS 87 had a profile in the New York Times a few years back because they were able to raise over $1 million through the PTA and provide the principal with much needed equipment. There are several other public schools also within District 3 and the upper west that are coveted as well. If you are looking for a private school, you have many excellent choices including-Trinity, Columbia Prep, Collegiate and the Dwight School.

There are many options in the neighborhood including the B and C train on Central Park west and the 1,2,3 trains on Broadway. So if you work in midtown or downtown your commute will be reasonable. Plenty of crosstown buses that transverse Central Park west are available to help you go West-East as needed. Now thanks to Citi Bike’s expansion, you can find stations everywhere up to 110th street.

Housing Options
You can find everything from prewar to postwar to brand new on the Upper west side and plenty of townhouses if you want more space. Typically, you can find a 1 bedroom co-op starting in 600’s and condos start in the high 700’s for JR1 (studio converted to a 1 bedroom) Family sized apartments of at least 1000 sqft (93m2) will start at around $1.3 million for a co-op and slightly higher for a condo. If you want to find something on Central Park west, in the high 90’s to low 100’s there are some excellent values and not all are co-ops. Included among the best values are the buildings of Park West Village at 372,382,392, and 400 central park west where a 2 bedroom/2bath of 1141 sqft (106m2) will start at just under $1.8 million.
If you are searching for new, you can find a new construction condo of about 2000 sqft(186m2) for as low as $4 million and for a little more, a great view of the Hudson River. Townhouses start at just under 4 million and go up depending on the condition.

Restaurants and night life
While the upper west side is not known for the nightlife of downtown or Brooklyn, it has it’s fair share of bars especially in the low 80’s on Amsterdam avenue including Brother Jimmy’s and Dead Poet’s Society. For foodies, the only problem may be too many options including vegetarian and vegan options :Ayurveda Cafe, Peace Food Cafe as well Hampton Chutney. For the more carnivorous, you have Stella’s, Gabriella’s as well as many other choices like Carmine’s.

Whole Foods is present in Columbus Circle as well as Columbus Square (West 97th street) in addition to Trader Joe’s (W 72nd st and coming soon to W 93rd st), Fairway, Zabar’s and the Upper West side market. Plenty of choices for organic fare anywhere on the UWS.

With all of these conveniences, it’s easy to see why many people purchase on Manhattan’s upper west side and many of those purchasers stay for the long haul. Is it Manhattan’s best neighborhood? What’s your opinion?


Ten Most expensive homes in Harlem

Seems like not that long ago (2004) when I was selling SRO homes in Harlem for just north of $400k. Well those days are long over as the same homes go for nearly 4 times that amount now. With Whole Foods coming to 125th street, prices figure to rise even more in the next several years.

Curbed compiled a list of the 10 most expensive homes on the market right now in Harlem. Several are not surprisingly coming from the Circa Central Park condos as well as beautiful townhouses in Harlem’s historic districts.


See the full list of the 10 most expensive Harlem homes

Cuomo tries to revive 421-a

Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered a subsidy to be used by developers to offset the higher cost of union construction in Manhattan. The plan is rough around the edges and was presented to a group of 20 developers in Manhattan. The unions feel the wage proposal is fair and of course developers in NYC are concerned about rising cost of labor and land. As part of a condition of continuing the 421-a program which expired in January,  the State has insisted that labor and REBNY come to agreement on wages. Without 421-a, it becomes cost prohibitive to build rental housing and/or affordable housing.

Part of Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio’s initiative is to create more affordable housing in NYC. Read the full article below.




Will Manhattan real estate values continue to increase?

While everyone by now  has heard about the glut of the luxury apartments in the Manhattan real estate market, what about the rest of the market? The market below $3 million continues to move well and we have seen upticks in activity of foreign buyers/investors who are looking for a safe haven for their money. The stock market right now is breaking new records but how long will this last? On the other side of the spectrum, even during the financial crisis Manhattan real estate values did not drop much except in developing neighborhoods. It just took longer to sell. Given that there is still scarcity below $3 million and especially family sized apartments, the lower end continues to move well.

Unlike during the Financial crisis of 2006-2008, Manhattan real estate developers have been only building luxury and super luxury for the last several years with only a few exceptions. Now, financing for these developments has dried up as lenders are risk averse and hesitant to lend funds to sell Manhattan super luxury apartments in an already glutted market. The below article talks about what lengths even one of the most well known Manhattan developers had to go to secure financing. Where do you think Manhattan real estate values are heading?

Bloomberg article about Extell’s effort to get financing

Circa Central Park construction update

Circa Central Park, the FXFOWLE designed condo at the Frederick Douglass circle is progressing with it’s construction. Currently, the South Harlem condo has 21 apartments on streeteasy of which 13 are in contract. The building will have 38 units total, many with views of Central Park.

Prices start at just over $1 million to nearly $9 million for a 3348 sqft(311m2) 5 bedroom/4bath aerie with outdoor space.




Citi Bike installs stations on Upper West side

The Citi Bike stations are now live in the West 90’s. There is a station on West 96th street and Central Park west and also one on West 95th street and Broadway. This makes sense so that instead of waiting for the M96 to take you from CPW to Broadway, you just grab a bike. The one on Central Park west at West 96th street has 52 docks which is a big station.

Today there was an installation of a station on the sidewalk adjacent to the condo complex known as Park West Village. When the sidewalk is wide like the one between 400 CPW and 372 CPW, Citi Bike likes to make sidewalk installations.

Citibke W 96
The Citi Bike station on the parkside of Central Park west at West 96th street is a large station with 52 bikes.
This morning a new station was being installed on the sidewalk between the Vaux condo at 372 CPW and 400 CPW.
This morning a new station was being installed on the sidewalk between the Vaux condo at 372 CPW and 400 CPW.

Thinking of selling your NYC apartment?

With the current NYC real estate market moving more towards a balanced market in all price points, what must a seller do to sell their apartment right now and for the most money? Follow through on these 5 musts and you will be well on your way to a successful sale.

1-Price right from the beginning. If you are going to sell your Manhattan apartment now, you need to look at the latest sales and with an unbiased eye come up with the right price and perhaps be a little aggressive. When you move past the initial marketing period it becomes harder to sell an apartment and listings can go stall. In order to price right from the beginning, look at the similar apartments preferably in your building and adjust the values. Typically appraisers will adjust 1% per floor. So if you own 10F and 15F was sold then it was worth at least 5% move. Appraisers will also adjust for view sometimes 5-10% of value. Apartments that are renovated versus not renovated often carry a premium of cost of renovations plus cost of the inconvenience. So, a buyer might need an additional 100k to renovate an apartment but what about the time and hassle? That factors in as well. So consult with your broker to arrive at a market price.

2- Consider staging or at least organizing. Apartments that are staged sell for more and quicker than vacant apartments. Two years ago I sold a loft that was basically a large one room (1000sqft-93m2)studio.  By staging it, we were able to define for the buyers where the living room, bedroom, and dining rooms should be. To stage an apartment of around 1100 sqft, will typically cost around $10k but worth every penny. There are less expensive alternatives around as well which range from virtual staging to systems that cost in between. If you can not stage then at least remove the excess clutter, put away the dirty dishes, and family photos. You really want a buyer to be able to visualize themselves in your home. If they can not do that, they will not buy.

3- Make sure to have professional photos and a video done of the space. Your broker will handle this but only a small percentage will do a professional video that can be shared on social media and used as a tool to qualify buyers. If there is a professional video available, a buyer can see it before the showing/open house.

4- Choose your broker carefully. Some simple questions that you can ask to distinguish one broker from another:
a-  How long have you been in real estate in Manhattan?
b-  What is your marketing plan for my property?
c-   Who will handle the showings? Yourself personally or someone on your team?
d- Will you follow up with the attorneys, bank and help to coordinate closing?
e- Have you sold other properties like mine?
f- Do you live in this neighborhood?
g- How many listings do you have right now? This is a key question because if the agent has too many then you are just going to be one of many of their clients.

5- Once you have selected your broker, and chose an appropriate price, you will want to make showings as easy as possible. By giving your broker a key and allowing showings even on short notice, you can make your property one of the favorite listings for buyer brokers to show because they know that they can get in easily. You never know who will be the buyer. It only takes one.

Uses these basic steps to position your Manhattan co-op, condo or townhouse appropriately in the market and you will maximize your chances of selling. Good luck!

Citi Bike Upper west side expansion has started

Citi Bike’s long awaited upper west side expansion has begun. Yesterday they installed a station at West 87th and Amsterdam and are planning to add 20 new stations going as far up as 110th street. This will include one adjacent to the Park West Village Complex between 400 Central Park west and 372 CPW.

Do you think that having a Citi Bike station near your building adds or detracts from the property values?


Read the full story

See the map of new stations

UWS building loses battle to keep rent stabilized tenant out of the gym

Stonehenge Partners faced a complaint with the Human Rights Commission brought by Jean Green Dorsey, a 75 year old upper west side widow. Green Dorsey and other rent stabilized tenants were prevented from using the gym in the building located at 160 W 97th street even after they offered to pay separately.  She had pledged to donate the proceeds from her lawsuit after deducting her attorney fees to charity. Stonehenge will have to pay about $40k in fines to the City of New York as well.

Read the full NYDN story